by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Forever Photography by Liberty

Student Scholar

student_zhang2To say that Canyon Crest Academy senior Wesley Zhang is an academic standout is an understatement. He recently earned a spot on Team USA to compete in the International Linguistics Olympiad (IOL) in South Korea. The IOL is a competition in which teams of young linguists from around the world gather to compete in solving linguistic puzzles using logic skills. “In order to qualify for Team USA in the IOL, students first participate in the North America Computational Linguistics Olympiad. There are two rounds in this competition, the first being the Open Round. Those that score high enough in the Open Round then compete in the Invitational Round. The top eight scorers in the Invitational Round comprise the two teams that the USA sends to the IOL,” explained Wesley, who also competed in the IOL two years ago when the event was held in Dublin, Ireland.

Name: Wesley Zhang (16)
School: Canyon Crest Academy
Grade: 12
Parents: Lily and Lian Zhang
Sibling: Wendy Zhang (24)
Favorite Local Spots: Canyon Crest Academy, Carmel Valley Public Library

While Wesley is looking forward to the IOL competition itself, he is also eager to meet the other participants, as well as visit sites close to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. “This plays to my interest in history,” he said. According to him, it may surprise people how interested he is in history since most of his other interests revolve around science and mathematics. However, Wesley is dedicated to learning as much as possible about the subject of history.


In addition to competing in the IOL, Wesley is involved in other competitive math and science teams, such as USA Mathematics Olympiad, USA Biology Olympiad, USA Physics Olympiad, and USA Computing Olympiad. He also participates in trivia competitions, including the San Diego County Academic League, Quiz Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl, and the International Geography Bee.

When he is not participating in academic competitions, Wesley enjoys solving logic puzzles, listening to classical music, programming, tutoring other students, and volunteering at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. In the future, Wesley hopes to pursue an interdisciplinary career that involves all of his interests. “Cognitive science, for one, is a field I’ve taken an interest in,” he shared, “due to its involvement with linguistics, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence.”